March 8, 2022


For the Article I Initiative’s Fifth Annual writing contest, we levied perhaps our most challenging prompt yet at young legal thinkers, asking them to diagnose how and why Congress has relinquished aspects of its “power of the purse” to the executive branch, and to propose creative solutions to this development.

This year’s submissions were blindly evaluated by our all-star panel of judges featuring Professor Lillian BeVier, the Honorable Christopher DeMuth, and Ambassador C. Boyden Gray. We are appreciative of all who submitted an entry, and are pleased to recognize this year’s winner for his exceptional work.

For his entry titled What is to be Undone? A One-Case Route to Ameliorating the Administrative State, our judges selected Zachary Austin as the winner of this year’s contest. Vice President and Director of the Federalist Society’s Practice Groups and Article I Initiative Nathan Kaczmarek presented Zachary with his $7,000 cash prize at the Federalist Society’s National Student Symposium on March 4:

In his winning submission, Zachary argued that a Supreme Court ruling holding that mandatory federal spending is unconstitutional would force Congress to take a more active role in shaping federal spending each year, in turn increasing budget transparency and accountability.

Zack is a third-year law student at Yale Law School, where he serves as President of Yale’s Federalist Society Student Chapter, which was recognized with the 2022 James Madison Award for Chapter of the Year. Between Yale College and YLS, he spent a year working at American Enterprise Institute, and another with the Valor Medals Review Task Force organized by the United States World War I Centennial Commission. After graduation, he will clerk with Judge Britt Grant of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Justin Walker of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He is from Columbus, Ohio, and is the first lawyer in his family.

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